Holiday social media posts may cost you more than you bargained for

By: Infiniti Insurance

The CEO of Infiniti Insurance, Sharon Paterson, calls for extra vigilance as the festive season approaches with its annual spike in crime.  While the powerful new technologies of the 4th Industrial revolution allow the insurance industry access to increasingly accurate data which enables risks to be addressed more comprehensively resulting in cost-effective premiums, they also pose potential risks to policy holders and insurers.

‘For example, data extrapolated from SAPS figures show that we can expect an increase of nearly 10 percent in home burglaries in the latter part of the year, so it is important to take every precaution.  In part, these measures should include your approach to social media which has provided a substantial amount of information used to formulate data algorithms and now in some instances provides additional threats to home security.

“In South Africa SAPs figures show that 61 homes were burgled each day last year.  Now social media may be adding to your odds of being burgled. According to research done by an insurance company in the United Kingdom, one in 20 of the burglaries (in the UK) happened while the homeowner was on holiday, while another survey found one in 12 Britons had been burgled after posting their location abroad on social media.  This cannot be a coincidence.

Paterson says sharing the details of your holiday on Facebook or Instagram may be a lot of fun but at the same time it is also telegraphing news that your home will be empty to would-be burglars.

It is known that many car thefts and hijackings of cars are to fulfil orders for specific vehicles given to the perpetrators.  By posting pictures of yourself with your new car and saying what your weekend or holiday plans are, you are providing these thieves with an easy way to fill these orders and to ruin your Christmas in the process.

It is a good idea in general – but in particular before going away – to tighten up your online security.  Remove people you do not know or trust as friends on Facebook. Turn off location services and remove personal details from profile pages.  You can also do a search to identify what personal information is being distributed online. Do not announce your holiday plans or send out a stream of information as to where you are going to be when.

“Traditionally, one of the true-and-tried methods of protecting your home and its contents is to ask a friend, family member or neighbour to keep an eye on your home while you are away.  Install programmable light switches, stop your mail or hire a house-sitter,” Debbie George, Head of the Broker Division at Infiniti adds.

So be vigilant and don’t become a victim!